Arsenal hero Paul Merson endorses Chelsea’s transfer move for £80m target Declan Rice

Paul Merson has endorsed Chelsea's transfer move for Declan Rice
Paul Merson has endorsed Chelsea’s transfer move for Declan Rice (Pictures: Sky Sports / Getty)

Arsenal legend Paul Merson has endorsed Chelsea’s transfer move for £80million target Declan Rice.

Rice spent almost a decade at Chelsea’s academy and is being strongly linked with a return to the club, having flourished at West Ham over the past two seasons.

Frank Lampard is determined to bolster his squad at Stamford Bridge this summer and has already signed Hakim Ziyech from Ajax and Timo Werner from RB Leipzig.

Rice has emerged as another top target and Chelsea are now considering an offer for the 21-year-old, who West Ham value at around £80million.

Former Arsenal and England star Merson can understand why Chelsea are targeting Rice and says the player ‘ticks a lot of boxes’.

‘Declan Rice is going to have choices this summer and I can see why Chelsea want him,’ Merson told StarSport.

‘He has become a top class holding midfielder for his age. He’s so disciplined, and I think it’s up to him how far he goes in the game.

‘There will be a lot of teams after him. In my day you had to have experience to play that position but he does it so well.

‘West Ham will have to get the right price if they sell. But I can see why Frank Lampard wants him.

‘If you’re playing three at the back he ticks the boxes. He’d be comfortable in the middle of a three.

‘Since David Luiz left they’ve not had anybody who can play that role and be comfortable bringing the ball out.

‘I don’t really see him in a four, but he could play just in front of a four if they need him to. I can see where Lampard’s coming from.

‘It’s hard to know what his value is though. Everyone is waiting for that first big one to go in the transfer market and set the benchmark.’

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